My Sump Pump

My sump pump lives in a dark, dank hole in the basement. It is a lifestyle well-suited to his personality.

The old guy is a hard-case, a crusty, old school type who takes pride in doing what others refuse to do and because of this, he pretty much holds everybody and everything else in utter contempt.

There used to be a lot of characters like him around, no nonsense guys who were short on imagination, even shorter on conversation and scornful of any opinion other than their own.

They were a breed apart, who set themselves apart and staked their lives on knowing they were tough enough to take on what no one else could.

My guy spends his days in the basement brooding.  There he waits sullenly, sometimes for months on end, for mother nature to paint the skies black and unleash her fury.  Then as the gutters overflow, the ground swells, the walls weep and cracks in the floor gurgle freely, he throws back into her face, everything she threw at him.

It is not a glamorous career but he does it without complaint nor a desire for praise – because that is who he is.

But not long ago, a whole new wave of appliances appeared in our house.

Smart appliances – and they pissed him off.

Hunkered down in the depths of the basement, he eavesdropped on their chatter as they rambled on about things that were none of their business and ways of doing things that were none of their concern.

The smart coffee maker, the web enabled refrigerator, the programmable thermostat all had no concept of nor appreciation for the quiet hard working machines who lived below them.  But it was not their brilliance that bothered him – rather what enraged him was that they were not intelligent enough to be humble.

He brooded upon this in his dark, dank hole and fumed at their petty dramas – until the day when mother nature again unleashed her fury.

And as the water rose – overwhelming the energy star humidifier, shorting out the smart hot water heater and flooding the geothermal unit, he laughed a hard laugh and muttered,  Screw it!

That was last week.

I had to wade down there and tell him I honored his service and to make a promise that convinced him to return to work.

In a few days, I will deliver on that promise, retiring him to a dank corner of my shed on the bottom shelf of a large homemade wooden rack, where he will join the company of an old Briggs and Stratton engine, a few electric motors of dubious origin and the transaxle from an old Volkswagen beetle.

In his world – that is how one defines heaven.

Author: Almost Iowa

50 thoughts on “My Sump Pump”

  1. I think you should rename your shade as Almost Loony Asylum.. Thanks for the invite. I will ask for directions when I will find a map
    See already loosing my sanity.. Will have to make a quick reservation at this rate..

  2. Your sump pump may be offended by that green drawing, which is not a sump pump, but actually an end suction pump. “They all look alike” could be cruel words to its damaged psyche. Don’t know how big the sump is, but you could perhaps put two in so you have backup.

    1. You are right, it is an end suction pump. I could not find a sump pump graphic on OpenClipArt…. you know how it is, those hipster clipart artists rarely given the old sump pumps their due.

  3. Ouch! I feel sorry for the old fart. But somehow it reminded me of where I will go when I will be old, caressing my back someone telling me, that’s your new home, old age or mental institute?? Depends on the Sanity..

  4. There is always a bit of wisdom in your posts! And you know, the guy who repairs our appliances sounds a lot like your sump pump. Real, arrogant, knows how to get the job done and has no respect for those who don’t. I hope your sump pump enjoys his retirement. He earned it! Sometimes I fear for our future…..

  5. My sump pump is young and eager – we haven’t dared consign it to the shed, so it sits on the deck, watching us, promising joy if we’d just have ourselves another flood. We watch it, promising we’ll welcome its service, but fervently hoping we won’t need it.

  6. I’m from the generation that appreciates that sump pump. It was a tool you plugged in when you needed it, and it worked. It might have come from Sears. 🙂 Now, everything thinks it is smarter than the human and is meant to be tossed every 24 months. 🙂

  7. Your sump pump story reminds me of Mike Rowe’s ‘Dirty Jobs.’ And I’ve met some of those crusty guys who put their heads down and get the difficult, unsexy work done with an occasional grunt or mumble that they seem to understand but leaves me scratching my head. My father was one of those guys. I’m holding out on calling any of my appliances ‘smart’ until I have a replicator installed. Then I’ll really have something, now won’t I?

    1. Mike Rowe’s show was wonderful. You just have to respect the people who do those things.

      While I attended college, I worked second and third shift in a steel foundry. I remember my interview, the crusty old foreman took one look at me and spit.

      “What can YOU do for me?” he asked.
      “Well,” I said, “I can show up every day on time and do whatever you ask of me.”
      “Ya think so?” he said.
      I told him sure….

      He put me on the shaker. It’s a 200 ton machine that shakes the sand out of 30 ton molds. It is kind of loud and dirty but mostly, it stinks. Corn meal and sugar is used in molding sand as a binder and means of generating gases…..and when it rots. Holy Moly.

      I stuck with it….and never did gain the respect of the foreman – but he never spit when he was talking to me again. That is as good as it gets.

    2. Speaking of dirty jobs, my old sheep farmer neighbor came over last Friday and asked me to help him de-worm his flock. It was my job to put my thumb in their mouth and pry it open so he could pump medicine down their throat. Sheep have two sets of teeth, sharp front ones for snipping grass and molars for grinding – in between there is just enough room for your thumb, but you don’t want to get it wrong with a 300 lb ram.

  8. So glad to live in a place with no basements. I was always so nervous when we had heavy rains and worried if power went off. Happened once and we had such a mess! We finally put in a back up battery and it saved the day several times.

    1. Around here, I would want a basement. Every year tornadoes blow through. ‘Earlier this year, I watched my Adirondack chairs sailing across the lawn at six feet off the ground…and that was just straight line winds. When we first moved here, my wife who is a native farm girl, pointed out all the trees down, roofs missing, barns flattened and said, “tornado, tornado and oh yeah, tornado.”

  9. Oh, you guys are having way too much fun with this post in the comments section.

    Ever since we gutted our basement, including removal of the carpet and plugging some holes in foundation walls, we have had no issues with water. However, the husband cut through the cement floor to install drainage pipe that would lead to the sump pump (our first). It has yet to run. I hope it is not sulking. I will never forget the dust raised by sawing through a cement floor. I had to clean every inch of every room and everything in it. The worst dust mess ever, even worse than sheetrock dust. I digress…

    1. I hear you on that dust. You can cover the doors and windows with plastic and tape the edges – and still the dust comes through. It is phenomenal.

      In our old house, the builder ran drainage tile all around the house and then piped the water into the house, dumping it into the sump. The sump then pumped it out into a field drainage system – but when he refused to work – you could boat in the basement.

    1. Mike, I thought of my father’s generation when I wrote this. You know the type, the working class guys who struggled through the depression and walked through hell and back during the war.

      A friend of the family described one of my uncles who was like that, “The bastard has a stranglehold on reality,” he said.

      1. That sounds like my old man, from Dunkirk until the end of WW2 stuck mining with his ankles tethered in the coalmines of Silesia, next door the Krakow. Not good…but certainly, ‘real’.

  10. By the time my comment got into the second paragraph, I decided that you have inspired a post. Not sure when I’ll get around to it, but there’s a draft trying to get lost in an electronic notebook.

    I would have a talk with the fridge. Tell it “you offended the sump pump. I’m going to change the WiFi password and not tell you the new one for three days.”

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